An analysis submitted by a government transparency group has found that first lady Melania Trump's staff is considerably smaller than that of her recent predecessors, including former first lady Michelle Obama.
On July 2, government spending tracker Open the Books disclosed the payroll of President Donald Trump's White House. The report found that overall, the Trump administration has employed 110 fewer White House staffers than former President Barack Obama's administration in July 2009. The analysis concluded that the Trump White House's leaner staff was projected to cost taxpayers $22 million less than Mr. Obama's over the course of four years, Forbes reports.
The payroll disclosure revealed that Mrs. Trump only has five staffers, a dramatic reduction compared to previous first ladies. In the fiscal year 2009, Mrs. Obama had a staff of 24. Former first lady Laura Bush had a staff of 18 in her first year, although that number grew to roughly 24 by 2009, according to The Associated Press.
Former first lady Hillary Clinton had a staff of 13 in 1993. The late first lady Jacqueline Kennedy is the record-holder for having the largest staff, employing a crew of roughly 40.
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Currently, Mrs. Trump's staff consists of Chief of Staff Lindsay Reynolds, Director of Communications Stephanie Grisham, Social Secretary Anna Niceta, Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations Timothy Tripepi, and Deputy Director of Advance Mary-Kathryn Fisher. Their annual salaries range from $77,000 to $179,700.
Mrs. Obama had been criticized for employing a large staff while serving as first lady. In March 2011, Obama spokeswoman Catherine McCormick-Lelyveld defended the number of employees, noting that the first lady was engaged in numerous causes.
"While every first lady approaches the job differently, the responsibilities of the office of the first lady have grown over the years to include planning and hosting hundreds of events at the White House and across the city of D.C., planning and supporting domestic and foreign travel with and without President Obama, receiving, cataloging and responding to thousands of pieces of mail, and supporting the first lady’s active schedule in support of the President -- hence the staff size for both Mrs. Bush and Mrs. Obama," McCormick-Lelyveld told PolitiFact.
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Mrs. Trump was criticized for residing in Trump Tower instead of the White House. From Jan. 22 through June 10, the first lady lived in Manhattan with her 11-year-old son, Barron Trump, so that he could finish out his school year. New York Police Commissioner James O'Neill disclosed that providing security for the first lady and her son cost at least $127,000 per day, The Independent reports.
On June 11, Mrs. Trump officially moved into the White House. The first lady's five months spent living in New York were estimated to cost taxpayers $17.6 million overall.